Sector Business Services
Location Warrington, UK
Investment type Buyout
Date of investment October 2006
Investment status Realised
Non-executive director Catherine Richards


The company

Established in 2000, Optionis (the parent brand of Parasol, ClearSky and Silverline) is one of the country’s leading employment services companies. As an employment umbrella company, Parasol provides tax and billing payroll to its flexible employees whose services are contracted to end-clients, typically large blue-chip organisations whilst Clearsky provides a full range of accounting services for SME’s.

Optionis has invested heavily in highly scalable IT infrastructure. This provides further operational efficiencies and enables its 150+ head office staff to process high volumes of transactions. To date, Optionis has looked after the needs of some 47,000 employees, 10,000 SME businesses and forged partnerships with 2,500 recruitment agencies.

Growth strategy

By 2006, Optionis’ founder had created a fast growth company with strong potential. He needed support and funding to create solid foundations for future growth, identifying opportunities to expand through acquisition as well as driving organic growth.

The Inflexion difference

From the start we saw that Optionis was a well-invested business. We backed the entrepreneurial founder and helped to complete the major acquisition of Clearsky, providing the business with complementary product streams. We also worked with the management team to complete a series of additional bolt-on acquisitions (all funded with the company’s existing cash reserves), adding further scale and efficiency.

Since our investment, we’ve helped to improve operational efficiency across the group, with Clearsky in particular becoming a platform for acquisitions, whereby we have helped deliver three enhancing bolt-on opportunities.